Valedictory Speeches

Agenda for Monday, May 16

  • Read this entire page.
  • Click on links to the web resources and read some of those, especially those that address your particular areas of need.
  • If you are having ideas about what to write about, start recording them in Word or on paper. Later on, we’ll start using Google Docs.
  • On Tuesday, we will listen to Erica Goldson’s YouTube speech.



You are seniors who have chosen a more rigorous path in high school (AP courses) and will probably continue to be leaders in the future. You are not the type of people to lurk in the background and let others take charge. As the “movers and shakers” of the future, you will find yourself in situations where you will be required to speak to various groups of people for various purposes. As our class has focused more on reading and writing language, it’s necessary to give time to the elements of spoken language. As for the genre: a valedictory speech? What’s more appropriate for you? This is a major transition year for each of you. This speech may help you clarify (among other things)

  • your feelings about moving on from your public school years
  • your ideas about the value of those years
  • your hopes for your future
  • your hopes for your peers’ future
  • your concerns about the world you will be more fully a part of from now on
  • and more….


We will investigate the genre and read/listen to some models, as well as consider advice about what should be avoided in such speeches.

We will use Google Docs as a composition and peer review tool. You will select a peer review team (two others from your class). On select days (or as the need arises) you can engage in the review process (more details listed below). Use the chat feature and ability to edit one document in crafting your speech.

In addition, to make the experience as valid (real) as possible, you will deliver your 5-7 minute speeches in the auditorium, using a podium and a microphone, to an invited audience (Other seniors? Junior AP students? Teachers?) You will decide who to invite. Each one of you needs to invite at least one person not from our class.

It is not expected that you memorize your speech, but you may want to practice extensively before you actually give the speech. Reading is not the same as speaking to an audience.

You are required to hand in a written copy of your speech prior to the day you deliver it. If you choose to use extemporaneous method, adapt your notecards from your manuscript.


Guide for Writing and Organizing Your Speech

Web Resources

While there may be overlap in the content of the sites listed below, I have organized them according to the dominant features of the site.


Disclaimer: The following sites are laden with ads and overall not very good, but they do provide some frame of reference for you.


 Hints and Warnings:

Model Speeches:

I have not evaluated or read most of these examples. You will need to judge their merit on your own.


Using a rubric, your peers and I will evaluate the effectiveness of your speech in four general areas:

  1. Content: the message resonates with the intended audience.
  2. Organization: the message is constructed logically and builds to a satisfying and fitting end.
  3. Ethos: the speaker’s message emerges from his/her honesty and sincerity.
  4. Delivery: the speaker’s message is delivered with competent skill, both verbal and nonverbal.

Going Beyond–

Use your speech as the first piece of writing on your new blog that you will use to express your voice

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